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The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age (Penguin Modern Classics)

The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Stanislaw Lem
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age (New York Times)

Product Description

A charming, mind-bending and anarchic book of imagined civilizations

'Most cosmic civilizations long for things, in the depths of their souls, they would never openly admit to...'

Trurl and Klapaucius are 'constructors' - they travel around the universe creating machines of astonishing inventiveness and power and visiting a bewildering variety of violent, peculiar and morose civilizations. The Cyberiad is oddly reminiscent of Gulliver's Travels, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Phantom Tollbooth and Alice in Wonderland. Charming, mind-bending and anarchic, it is perhaps Lem's greatest work. This edition includes all of Daniel Mroz's hallucinatory original illustrations.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7727 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B000E3TI38
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (5 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HNIJ38C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,553 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you can always dip into, again and again 25 Nov 2004
Like 'Mortal Engines', this collection of short stories is lovely. If you want to classify the genre, they're... bed-time stories for androids. The Cyberiad is probably the better of the two collections, but it's a close-run thing. The collection starts with the tale of an inventor who creates a machine which can make anything that starts with an 'n'. Everything goes well until a rival tells the machine to do 'nothing' and it starts deleting bits of reality... Futurist fairy tales, every one. Translation from the original Polish has been handled very well. Even the occasional poems still rhyme, and still feature clever puns.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, thought provoking and very funny! 5 Jun 1999
By A Customer
I first read this wonderful book many years ago but reread it recently and enjoyed it even more. It's a collection of short stories set in a distant future (or possibly a distant past) where all the characters are robots and only ancient legends tell of the horrible slimy 'protoplasmic goo' people who came before (i.e. humans). They are comic fairy tales, poking fun at computers, maths and science in general. The two heroes are 'constructors' , 'Trurl' and 'Klapaucius' who can create almost anything, from a machine which composes poetry 'two hundred and twenty, to three hundred and forty seven times better' than the best poets to one which can make anything beginning with the letter 'N'. The stories are all philosophically absurd and very funny as a result! I agree with previous posters that the translation is excellent (particularly on the poetry - I can't imagine what it was like in Polish but it is brilliant in English!) I rather like the story where Trurl constructs an eight-storey thinking machine which refuses to admit that 2 and 2 is not 7. Why does this remind me of work? (I'm a computer programmer!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
There is no book in my mind that covers the whole of the
universe like this. Humans and machines alike are given
a humorous treatment, during which you will be tickled
pink by Lem's ingenuous twists of imagination, and after
which you no longer can take humans or machines too
seriously. The translation from Polish is a work of art in
its own right - witty, concise, elegant, and fluent.

Lem is a great thinker, and the depth of his writing only
hits one after a few moments. Read this book and let its
gentle humor move you. You'll never regret it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whacky-Philosophic. Grimm with robots. 24 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Cyberiad is not for the faint-hearted. Below the inventive, charming, slapstick veneer deep philosophical problems are reworked.
As you delve into the hilarious and frighteningly
intelligent world of Lem, you realise that you are being educated in the arcanery of metaphysical philosophy too. But it`s not stuffy-
in fact Reason is completely OUT TO LUNCH!
The tome is actually illustrated with unique drawings- shades of `Alice`!
Be warned:- Arts graduates and others who are not versed in the refined arts of cybernetics might find it hard to understand.
However those who DO are in for a real treat!
This is the reviewers favourite book.
An unsung modern classic. Unsung because it`s does not pander to the Lowest Common Denominator.
you will be blown away by the wit and perceptivness of an author who should be acknowleged as one of, if not THE best, Sci-Fi authors of all time.
It`s so good you`ll be changed by it!
"One day Trurl the constructor put together a machine that could create anything starting with the letter `n`", begins the book. As this first story progresses, the universe itself is endangered (for Nothingness, my friend, also starts with `n`).
Cyberiad is a compendium of very short stories `for the cybernetic age`, all linked by the metallic-but-exceedingly-human characters of Trurl and Klapaucius. And, as you read, it just
gets better and better.
The story `Trurl`s electronic bard` is my favourite. Trurl constructs
a poem-generating machine (not without effort!), with truly hilarious repercussions.
Cyberiad is a Gem.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual but interesting 11 Jun 2003
By A Customer
First thing that strikes you is the very unusual style reminiscent of Mervyn Peaks' Gormonghast (it feels like the author just loves the sound of words) with a little bit of Kurt Vonnegut thrown in as well.
To be honest it's not the kind of thing that I usually like to read, but it did start to grow on me by the time I'd read about half way.
The story about the PhD Pirate was very funny with a fairly profound insight into the uselessness of knowledge without context.
Not for everybody but in the end I did enjoy it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best stories by the best SF author ever 23 Sep 1996
By A Customer
More than anyone else, Stanislaw Lem
understands the unique potential of the Science Fiction
genre. His
depictions of non-human intelligences, whether alien or
artificial, are consistently compelling. His insight into
humanity and our role in the Cosmos is unmatched (at least
among SF authors). As far as I can tell, Lem has never
written a bad book, and his reservoir of fresh ideas is

However, this is a review of a book, not an author :-),

I have read and enjoyed most of Lem's work, but I still go
back and re-read The Cyberiad every year or so. I always
hope to find something new, and I am never disappointed. It
amazes me to see how many of the deepest ideas from Lem's
other books are echoed somewhere in these stories. And
their style is Lem's best: The futuristic "fable", mixing
intellectual slapstick, brilliant wordplay, and deep
philosophy as only Lem can.

I guarantee The Cyberiad will make you laugh hard and think
harder. What more could you want from your reading?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars to the translator too
Quirky just isn’t sufficient a word to describe Stanislaw Lem. There has got to be better adjective and it’s probably in his original Polish. Read more
Published 25 days ago by P. J. Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic fables
i read this thirty years ago as a teenager who loved science fiction especially philip k dick and i loved this book back then. Read more
Published 12 months ago by john warren
5.0 out of 5 stars uncommon sci-fi pour the ages
I was relatively surprised when I saw Lem's name popping up around me, and intrigued at the sights of the reviews I bought this book.
I was blown out. Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by a_reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Lord Dunsany meets Futurama
Cosmologist Sean Carroll nominated this as a "lost sc-fi classic" in "New Scientist" magazine last year. Read more
Published on 28 May 2011 by DB
5.0 out of 5 stars Set phasers to FUN!
Exquisite tales of cybernetic adventurers Klaupacius and Trurl, and their slapstick antics across the galaxies, inventing fantastical machines, beguiling pernicious rogues, and... Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2010 by H. Coull
2.0 out of 5 stars Every other reviewer is right about this book
I only bother posting a review if I feel I have something constructive to add. In this case, I think that most of the other reviewers accurately described the book - whether they... Read more
Published on 5 Jun 2010 by C. Greenaway
1.0 out of 5 stars First of his books to disappoint
I consider Stanislaw Lem to be one of my favorite SF author (only second to Cordwainer Smith). And it was a slap in the face to (try to) read 'The Cyberiad'. Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2009 by Finn Ekberg Christiansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic tales for the cybernetic age
The blurb on my copy of this book waffles on about the stories being about rival inventors vying with each other to create ever more ludicrous machines to carry out ever more... Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2009 by Blackhorse47
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great books
A wonderful book - full of brilliant wit and humour.
It is translated from the original Polish and you will have to read it to realise that the translation is a work of genius... Read more
Published on 21 July 2009 by D. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining robot stories, both tongue-in-cheek and polemical
A great book by Lem, with his usual, fascinating word-play; reading some of the stories is like having 'jewels in the mouth' (to quote Frank McCourt). Read more
Published on 9 July 2007 by ANON
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